15 English Words You Should Know
to Upskill Your Spoken English

See also: Verbal Communication Skills

English language proficiency is crucial in today's globalized world, and for non-native English speakers, it opens up countless opportunities in education, career, and social interactions. To effectively communicate in English, it is essential to have a strong foundation in vocabulary.

This blog article will explore 15 must-know English words for non-native speakers, covering greetings, communication phrases, emotions, daily activities, food, transportation, shopping, directions, health, weather, technology, education, family, time, and travel. These words will empower non-native English speakers to express themselves confidently and navigate various aspects of English conversations.

Background on English as a Global Language

English has emerged as a global language, serving as a lingua franca in various domains worldwide. Its widespread usage in international communication, trade, and academia has made it an essential skill for individuals seeking global opportunities. English proficiency has become increasingly crucial due to its status as a major language of communication.

The Role of English in Education, Business, and Society

English has gained prominence, particularly in education, where it is often the medium of instruction in prestigious schools and universities. Proficiency in English gives individuals access to a broader range of educational resources.

Furthermore, English fluency is highly valued in the business world, as it facilitates global trade and communication.

The Top 15 Essential English Words for Non-Native People

English language proficiency is a valuable skill for effective communication. To help non-native speakers enhance their English vocabulary, here are 15 essential words categorised by different topics.

  • Greetings and Introductions

    When meeting someone, greetings play a crucial role. Instead of simply saying "hello," expand your vocabulary with alternatives like "hi," "hey," or "good morning/afternoon/evening". These variations can make your conversations more engaging and expressive.

  • Communication Phrases

    To effectively express your ideas and opinions, explore alternative words for phrases like "I think," such as "in my opinion," "from my perspective," "it seems to me”, “in my view”, or “as I see it”. These phrases add depth and clarity to your communication.

  • Emotions and Feelings

    Expressing emotions is important for effective communication. Instead of only using "happy," try using words like "joyful," "ecstatic," "delighted", “elated” or “thrilled” to convey specific feelings accurately and enriches your conversations.

  • Daily Activities

    When discussing your daily routine, go beyond the generic word "work." Use alternatives like "job," “career”, “profession”, "occupation," or "employment" to provide more detail about your activities and responsibilities.

  • Food and Dining

    Instead of relying solely on "delicious" to describe tasty food, broaden your vocabulary with words like "scrumptious”, "delectable", “savoury”, “luscious”, “flavourful”, “palatable” or “appetizing” to describe the flavours more vividly.

  • Transportation

    When discussing different modes of transportation, use words like "travel," "commute," "journey", "traverse", "move", "transit" or "voyage" to describe your movement from one place to another, giving your conversations a more descriptive touch.

  • Shopping

    While bargaining or discussing prices, expand your vocabulary beyond "price." Use alternatives like "cost," "value," “rate”, “worth” or "expense" to express the financial aspect of shopping more precisely.

  • Directions and Locations

    When seeking or giving directions, substitute "destination" with words like "location," "place," "site", "address", "spot", "venue", or "landmark' to ensure clear communication and an accurate understanding of where you need to go.

  • Health and Medical Terms

    When discussing health-related issues, replace the generic term "doctor" with alternatives such as "physician," "surgeon," or "specialist" to specify the type of medical professional you are referring to.

  • Weather

    Beyond using "rain" to describe precipitation, explore words like "downpour," "drizzle," or "shower" to describe the different types of rainfall and create a more nuanced conversation about the weather.

  • Technology

    Expand your technological vocabulary beyond "internet" by incorporating words like "web," "cyberspace," or "online" to describe the digital world and its various aspects more accurately.

  • Education

    When discussing education, use words like "learning," "studying,", “academic”, lessons”, or enlightenment”, instead of relying solely on the word "education." These alternatives provide a broader perspective on the process of learning.

  • Family and Relationships

    Instead of using "love" to describe affection, employ words like "adore," "cherish," or "treasure" to express the depth of emotions in familial and relationship contexts more precisely.

  • Time and Scheduling

    Expand your vocabulary related to time and scheduling beyond "appointment." Use alternatives like "meeting," "engagement," or "schedule" to accurately convey your planned activities.

  • Travel and Tourism

    When discussing travel and tourism, go beyond "tourist" and use words like "traveller," "explorer," or "visitor" to describe someone who journeys to different places, enhancing the richness of your conversation.

By familiarizing yourself with these 15 essential English words and their alternatives, you can enhance your vocabulary and improve your communication skills in various everyday situations. Remember, continuous practice and exposure to English will help you further expand your language proficiency.

Why Should You Upskill Your English Language Proficiency?

In today's interconnected world, the English language has become the lingua franca of global communication. Its prevalence across borders and industries has made it an essential skill for individuals seeking personal and professional growth. Having English language proficiency has numerous advantages including:

  1. Easy Communication in the Globalized World:

    English has emerged as the primary means of communication in international settings. Whether you're traveling abroad, collaborating with international colleagues, or engaging in cross-border business dealings, a strong command of English ensures effective communication and fosters mutual understanding.

  2. Career Advancement and Job Opportunities:

    Proficiency in English opens doors to a vast array of job opportunities. In multinational corporations, startups, or even local businesses, English fluency is often a prerequisite for positions that involve interactions with diverse clientele or global stakeholders.

  3. Access to Knowledge and Information:

    The majority of knowledge repositories, research publications, and educational resources are in English. By improving your language skills, you gain access to a wealth of information that can contribute to your personal and intellectual development.

  4. Personal Development and Confidence:

    As you enhance your English language proficiency, you also boost your self-confidence. The ability to articulate ideas, express opinions, and engage in discussions in English empowers you to participate actively in various social and professional settings.


In conclusion, mastering these 15 essential English words is a stepping stone toward effective communication. However, to further enhance language skills, English courses are an excellent source of learning. English courses in Dubai, Sharjah, Qatar, or any other location provide structured learning opportunities to expand vocabulary and improve overall English proficiency.

About the Author

Ms. Shereen Backer is a broad-minded English language and Soft Skills trainer. She is fascinated by training young minds and professionals to reach new heights in their careers. Her vast experience as an English language and soft skills trainer enables her to handle training sessions for students from diverse cultures.

Ms. Shereen challenges her students to be the best version of themselves. She holds strong records of accomplishment with TESOL/TEFL Certification and IDP Teacher’s Training Program Accreditation.

For the last seven years, she has been working with companies and universities as an ESL/EFL verbal trainer cum academic and career counselor. She helped more than 500 individuals to clear exams like IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, OET, DET, PSAT, NMSQT, and SAT. She also specializes in voice and accent training for English language students.